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Tour 2: Gulf Savannah Tour – Darwin to Cairns

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Price
From$3,630
Price
From$3,630
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141
3-18 June, 2020 (16 Days)
Darwin
Cairns
Tour Details
Tour 2: 3 - 18 June, 2020

This itinerary is designed to flow on from our Kimberley tour and has been custom built to incorporate the best of the Northern Territory and Gulf Savannah!  Our Kimberley & NT guide and other secret informants have helped us create a unique itinerary visiting some of the most mind-blowing places in the Top End!  Departing from Darwin and heading to Cairns, highlights include Kakadu & Litchfield National Park, The Lost City, Lorella Springs, Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park, Karumba, the Gulflander Train and the world famous Undara Lava Tubes!

Ensure to read the itinerary to see what secrets lie within!  Remember we are limited to 14 seats per tour and WE SELL OUT every year! 

All itineraries are subject to change due to unexpected conditions, circumstances or driver’s decision based on what is best for the group.

Departure & Return Locations

Hop On:     Darwin

Hop Off:     Cairns

Price Includes
  • Tented accommodation
  • Breakfast, lunch & dinner *see itinerary for BYO (Buy Your Own) meals
  • Sleeping equipment (tall tent, quality mattress, sheets/blanket, pillow)
  • Additional tours & expeditions *see itinerary
  • All entrance fees to National Parks, Ferries & Caravan parks
  • Customised experience of the Top End
Highlights
What to expect

Cockatours is a family owned business who aim to create unforgettable experiences for everyone. We would love to share our experience and knowledge of the remote top end of Australia with you and show you places, experiences and wildlife you never thought existed!  We run smaller tours with a maximum 14 people so it still feels private and we expect everyone to be friendly, kind and work together as a team to create a positive experience for all. 

As a small business, we have the ability to be flexible and use this as an advantage for creating great experiences and adventures. Tours are subject to change due to roads, conditions and the guide’s decision to best suit the group. 

If you decide to join us on an adventure, please note the following:

  • Be prepared for true bush camps; some have no facilities – we have a bush toilet and shower for these occasions
  • Tented accommodation; easy peasy to erect!
  • Team work; everyone helps clean, cook, pack & set up
  • We are renowned for our amazing camp meals!
  • We have limited access to stores/shops
  • We have a great reputation to uphold and endeavour to provide an amazing tour every time!
Tour specific notes
  • Bring water bottles (or small backpacks with bladders) with a capacity up to 3L for some of the hikes. Staying hydrated in the tropics is critical to feeling good, avoiding headaches and enjoying your tour!
  • You must have hiking shoes (preferably with ankle support) for this tour. If you are an experienced hiker/bushwalker, go with what you normally wear and are comfortable with. You will also need wet shoes for 2 tours, these may be the same as your hiking shoes if you choose.
  • Please bring a head lamp with you. They will save you an enormous amount of angst at night time around camp. You will also need them for cave walks. We have a couple of models we recommend and stock in our ‘truck shop’ for $30-40. Clients in the past have replaced their BCF specials with these and been stoked with them. We make no profit on these, we just want our clients to fully enjoy their camping experience!
  • There are lots of walks on these tours. You never have to do a walk, however, to make the most of this trip, completing all (non-optional) walks is highly recommended. We would highly recommend a basic level of fitness or starting morning/afternoon walks at home before this tour commences. This Northern Territory Walks & Hikes Page provides details on a few of the walks we me do in the NT.
Prices

$3,630

Group booking 6 or more

$3,740

Standard booking

These are incredibly special tour prices!  Being our first tour to the region we want to provide our first clients with a unique experience and we would love help to get the word out there!  We have an experienced Kimberley & Northern Territory guide on board, so the tour will be of the highest standard. 

There is $700 + of outsourced tours ALONE included in this price.  We are against taking commission for tours, so all group discounts and commissions have been waived so we can give you the best price possible!  This is Australia and we want fair dinkum experiences without the rort!

Your Guides
  • Your driver and guide is none other than Cockatours owner, Rossy. Rossy is an ecologist, photographer & speaker. He normally runs his tours in Cape York, but this year wants to spread the Cockatours adventure across the whole Top End! You can read more about him in our 'About Us' section.
  • Our local guide for the Kimberley & Gulf Savannah tours, is Jodie Douglas, an incredibly experienced, happy & hilarious lady! She has run tours with other operators across the Kimberley & Northern Territory so most of the location guiding & interpretations will be done by her. She is a very well received guide in the Kimberley & NT and has great relationships with Traditional Owners and other operators across the Top End.
Rossy the Guide Next to cycad
Rossy, Cape York Guide
Jodie the Guide in Kimberley Gorge
Jodie, Kimberley & NT Guide
Itinerary
All itineraries are subject to change due to unexpected conditions, circumstances or driver's decision based on what is best for the group.

Day 1Darwin > Batchelor (Litchfield NP)

Camp: Camp Ground (facilities available)
Meals: L, D
Activities: Litchfield NP, Buley Rockhole, Wangi Falls, termite mounds.
Hiking Shoes/Togs: Yes. Yes.

What a cracker of a place to start a tour: Darwin, Northern Territory! Deep in the outback, steeped in history & culture and surrounded by stunning natural reserves! This morning we begin pickups around 7am and then head straight to the action at Litchfield National Park! Litchfield is a stunning National Park in the NT’s north-west, rich with stunning waterfalls that plunge into magical swimming holes! We pull in to check out and swim at Wangi Falls & Buley Rockhole and pass by some amazing & very picturesque termite mounds!

Day 2Batchelor > Cooinda (Kakadu NP)

Camp: Camp Ground (facilities available)
Meals: B,L,D
Activities: Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tour, Kakadu NP, Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) Rock Art, Visitor Centre, Yellow Waters sunset cruise.
Hiking Shoes/Togs: Yes. No.

This morning our first stop is the Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tours where we learn about the local culture & traditions. Afterwards we continue to head East into Kakadu NP, where your guide will show you the stunning Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) Rock Art. We stop in at the local visitors centre on the way into Cooinda. Today we finish the day with the world famous ‘Yellow Waters’ sunset cruise!

Day 3Cooinda (Kakadu Explore Day)

Camp: Camp Ground (facilities available)
Meals: B,L. BYO Dinner.
Activities: Injalak Hill, Cultural Tour, Gunbalanya Arts centre & meet the artists, Ubirr Rock.
Hiking Shoes/Togs: Yes. No.

With an early start (no tent pack down today), this morning we walk a hill to one of the most picturesque views in the NT at Injalak Hill. Our Indigenous guide will take us on a cultural tour and on our return we pop into the visitors centre. Here you can view the local artwork and meet and mingle with the artists. This afternoon on our way back to camp we head to the stunning Ubirr Rock. This evening we enjoy a dinner out together.

Day 4Cooinda > Katherine

Camp: National Park Camp Ground (facilities available)
Meals: B,L,D
Activities: Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge National Park. Maguk Falls, Gunlom Falls.
Hiking Shoes/Togs: Yes. Yes.

A nice cruisy day today, we head south out of Kakadu and over into Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge National Park. On our way out, we walk into the stunning Maguk Falls, a waterfall that pours over the steep gorge walls into a stunning plunge pool below. Our next set of falls is the breathtaking Gunlom Falls, with a natural infinity pool with postcard worthy views across the Kakadu Plains. Once we are done taking in the views and soaking our skin we head into camp at Nitmiluk NP. This afternoon you can explore the river and gorge at your own leisure.

Day 5Katherine > Mataranka

Camp: National Park Camp Ground (facilities available)
Meals: B,L,D
Activities: Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge cruise, Top Didj Cultural experience, Indigenous painting & spear throwing lesson, Bitter Springs (thermal pools).
Hiking Shoes/Togs: Yes. No.

Today we start off with an early morning 2-hour Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge cruise. We get to enjoy the silence and still of the morning, cruising through the gorge and hearing all the wildlife at their most active time of day. After the cruise we will head back to camp to pack up before popping into Top Didj Cultural Experience & Art Centre. Here we have a unique cultural tour! A local Traditional Owner will guide you through creating a painting of your own. You will also learn how to throw a spear under his careful tutelage! We head off to Mataranka this afternoon, and with plenty of time left in the day you can stroll down the road from camp and soak your body in the hot thermal pools of Bitter Springs!

Day 6Mataranka > Munbililla

Camp: National Park Camp Ground (facilities available)
Meals: B,L,D
Activities: Elsey Cemetery & Homestead, Limmen NP, Roper Bar.
Hiking Shoes/Togs: Yes. No.

This morning we visit the Elsey Cemetery & Homestead (an immaculate replica), based off the 1982 film ‘We of the Never Never’. We head east towards Limmen National Park and pull in to have a look at Roper Bar, the famous crossing point of Leichardt’s overland party in 1845. We head a little further down the road to camp on the banks of the Roper River.

Day 7Munbililla > Lorella Springs

CCamp: Station Camp Ground (facilities available)
Meals: B,L,D
Activities: Lomarieum Lagoon wildlife & bird spotting, Towns River Crossing, Western Lost City, Butterfly Falls, Lorella Springs.
Hiking Shoes/Togs: Yes. Yes.

Nudging deeper into Limmen NP today, we pull into Lomarieum Lagoon nice and early to do a little wildlife & bird spotting. A stunning lagoon filled with water lilies, it bares resemblance to many of the lagoons in Rinyirru (Lakefield, Qld) & Kakadu National park. We stretch our legs at the pretty Towns River Crossing and, depending on road conditions, head down the sandy track to see the Western Lost City. Out last stop of the day is the gorgeous Butterfly Falls, before we pull into camp at the massive Lorella Springs station.

Day 8Lorella Springs Explore Day

Camp: Station Camp Ground (facilities available)
Meals: B,L. Dinner out (BYO)
Activities: Lorella Springs: waterfalls, walks and explore!
Hiking Shoes/Togs: Yes. Yes.

Today is our opportunity to explore the many wonders of Lorella Springs. This station has several stunning waterfalls, swimming holes and hikes. Closer to the date we will check with the owner to confirm what tracks are open and what our best options for swimming and exploring are! Tonight we will treat ourselves and head to the station house for dinner!

Day 9Lorella Springs > Cape Crawford

Camp: Camp Ground (facilities available)
Meals: B,L,D
Activities: Southern Lost City.
Hiking Shoes/Togs: Yes. No.

This morning we visit the stunning sandstone formations that make up the Southern Lost City. An easier accessed site this one is well worth the visit! Today is otherwise a relax and transit day, pulling into Cape Crawford early afternoon.

Day 10Cape Crawford > Hell’s Gate

Camp: Camp Ground (facilities available)
Meals: B,L,D
Activities: Transit day. Borroloola shopping. Calvert & Robinson River crossings.
Hiking Shoes/Togs: Yes. No.

Today is a transit day on some stunning outback roads that run parallel to the Gulf of Carpentaria. We stop in at Borroloola to do some shopping and you can grab a coffee here at the Red Dirt cafe if you like! We cross two beautiful rivers today; the Calvert & Robinson Rivers. Tonight we make camp at the popular Hell’s Gate.

Day 11Hell’s Gate > Adels Grove

Camp: National Park Camp Ground (facilities available)
Meals: B,L,D
Activities: Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park
Hiking Shoes/Togs: Yes. No.

Today we weave our way through some more stunning outback & station roads towards Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park & Adels Grove.

Day 12Adels Grove (Boodjamulla/Lawn Hill Explore Day)

Camp: National Park Camp Ground (facilities available)
Meals: B,L,D
Activities: Riversleigh Fossil Deposit, Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) Gorge – kayaking & river cruise. Several easy walks around camp.
Hiking Shoes/Togs: Yes. Yes.

Today we have a few exciting activities up our sleeve. We start the day by heading 45 mins south to the world famous Riversleigh Fossil Site #4. Here we take a short, easy walk through the fossil trail. David Attenborough is quoted as saying this site is one of four of the most important fossil deposits on the planet. Whilst the fossils aren’t huge, the sheer number of fossils here has helped describe and fill in many gaps in our archaeological understanding.

Heading back to Lawn Hill, you will have plenty of time to hire a kayak near camp and paddle up the gorge to the first set of cascades. There are some stunning walks here, including Indarri lookout, a perfect point to view the cascades from above. In the afternoon we will take a relaxed 1-hour cruise in the gorge. On the day we may shuffle these depending on what works best.

Day 13Adels Grove > Leichardt Falls

Camp: Bush Camp (no facilities)
Meals: B,L,D
Activities: Burketown shopping, Leichardt Falls.
Hiking Shoes/Togs: No. No.

We have broken this day up to make it a more relaxing and enjoyable day. First we head into Burketown to do a little shopping. We nudge just down the road to the stunning Leichardt Falls. At this time of year the falls are bound to be pumping! This is a free campsite. With a nice short day today, getting in early to relax and setup will be ideal!

Day 14Leichardt Falls > Karumba

Camp: Camp Ground (facilities available)
Meals: B, L. Dinner out (our shout)
Activities: Burke & Wills Camp 119, Barramundi Info Centre & Hatchery, Karumba Sunset Dinner Cruise.
Hiking Shoes/Togs: Yes. No.
Tides: Karumba, H: 1320h 2.52m, L: 2230h 1.14m

Another incredibly exciting day of the tour, today we head to Karumba, the famous Gulf town. On our way we stop at Camp 119, the northern-moist point of the ill-fated Burke & Wills expedition. In Karumba we visit the Barramundi Info Centre & Hatchery for a tour. Here hundreds of thousands of barramundi hatchlings are reared for restocking purposes. The architecture at this facility alone is worth visiting it for! We wrap up our day with a sensational 2-hour sunset dinner cruise in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The cruise pulls in at Sand Island and you can dine on freshly cooked gulf prawns, nibble on fruit & nibbles platters and enjoy your favourite frosty beverage or three!

Day 15Karumba > Undara

Camp: Camp Ground (facilities available)
Meals: B,L,D
Activities: Gulflander Train from Normanton to Blackbull Station, Bluff Walk lookout for sunset. Undara Volcanic National Park.
Hiking Shoes/Togs: No. No.

With two days to go, we can’t stop wow-ing you! Today we drop you off in Normanton where you board the historic, Heritage-listed Gulflander Train. On your journey to Blackbull Station (mile 56) the operator will share with you an amazing history over this rail line from “nowhere to nowhere”, built in the late 1800s. We will pick you up at the morning tea stop at Blackbull Station before continuing on further to Undara Volcanic National Park. This evening we will head up the hill from camp to watch our final sunset as a group, over the stunning plains of Undara. This walk is an easy 1.5 km return walk.

Day 16Undara > Cairns

Camp: N/A
Meals: B. BYO Lunch
Activities: Undara Lava Tubes Experience. Drop-offs in Cairns.
Hiking Shoes/Togs: Yes. No.

Our last day has arrived, but not without another incredible experience. This morning you will explore the majestic Undara Lava Tubes with excellent interpretation from a local Savannah Guide. After the tour we will head back to Cairns, stopping on the way for a quick BYO lunch. Hold back the tears if you can, but there will be tissues on board! We will make drop-offs at your accommodation mid-late afternoon.

Map
Map of Darwin to Cairns Gulf Savannah Tour
The Truck
Cockatours tour bus and trailer
Tour Truck at Camp with people relaxing

Our 18-seater tour truck, Zeus, takes us on all our adventures. He is equipped with very comfortable seating perfect for off-road driving, a sound system with microphones for those who love karaoke and plenty of storage. The air-conditioning works extremely well and the tinted windows in the cab help keep the glare & heat out! Our trailer is our portable kitchen with even more storage which is perfect for any event; short/long term camping trips, weekend getaways, the list goes on!  There’s even a large awning for those rare rainy days! 

On camping tours, we take a maximum of 14 people as we remove the 15th seat in the back and replace it with an esky for your own snacks and drinks!

FAQ's

We highly suggest reading through our Frequently Asked Questions before sending through an enquiry or making a booking. 

Click here to visit our FAQs page.